The day after the Arizona Wildcats received their Alamo Bowl bid, athletic director Greg Byrne had a suggestion - red pompoms for the fans that travel to the game. Wednesday night, 10,000 fans - those seated in the section blocked off for UA supporters - found the plastic pompoms on their seats. Byrne estimated the 10,000 pompoms cost the UA "a couple thousand dollars," but were worth it. Not everyone was happy with the freebie, however. Decked head-to-toe in OSU gear, Bruce Smith and his family arrived to the Valero VIP section to find the offending pompoms awaiting. "We're gonna find some Arizona fans," the Oklahoma City resident said, "and give them to 'em."
What a kick
Arizona received some welcome news in the hours before Wednesday's game, when Kyle Dugandzic - a punter from Ventura (Calif.) Junior College - verbally committed to the Wildcats' 2011 recruiting class. He will enroll at the UA next month, and projects as the team's No. 1 punter heading into spring drills.
"I'm really excited to go in there and hopefully play right away," he said. Dugandzic, 19, led all California JC players in punts over 50 yards and pins inside the opponent's 20. Chris Sailer Kicking, one of the nation's top player development and scouting services, lists him as a 4 1/2-star (out of five) recruit. Dugandzic chose Arizona over an offer from Arkansas-Pine Bluff; he also received interest from Utah State and Miami (Fla.). Dugandzic said he's excited to kick in the soon-to-be Pac-12 conference. The Wildcats must replace senior Keenyn Crier. "Growing up on the West Coast, I always wanted to play Pac-10 football," Dugandzic said. "I live close to UCLA and the Rose Bowl, and had always gone to UCLA games. I thought it would be so cool to play in the Pac-10."
The big number
Cost of an Alamodome monster margarita, which came in three flavors - original, strawberry and swirl. Fans were limited to two per purchase. Probably smart.
Arizona broke out its most unlikely uniform kit for Wednesday's Alamo Bowl - blue helmets, blue tops and white pants. The look completed a, shall we say, patriotic three years. The Wildcats wore navy helmets, red jerseys and red pants in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl, and white helmets, tops and pants in last year's Holiday Bowl debacle. Stoops chose the navy-on-navy look to contrast with Oklahoma State. The Cowboys wore white helmets and tops with orange pants.
New digs for Kish
Tim Kish was in new territory Wednesday night. For the first time in his seven-year career as a UA assistant, Kish coached from the sideline. Kish was named the Wildcats' defensive coordinator - dropping the "co" from his title - when Colorado hired secondary coach Greg Brown earlier this month. Brown was typically on the sideline, getting an earful with Mike Stoops. Kish's move meant just one defensive assistant, graduate assistant Ryan Walters, coached from the booth Wednesday.
Fans listening to Wednesday's game on Tucson radio had options. Because of ESPN's contract with the Alamo Bowl, both 1490-AM and 1290-AM carried the game. ESPN Radio's Carter Blackburn, Brock Huard, Mike Bellotti and Shelley Smith broadcasted the game on 1490. Longtime radio voice Brian Jeffries, Lamont Lovett and Dana Cooper handled duties on 1290, the Wildcats' flagship.
"It's been a while since we had two teams in the top four."
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott, explaining why he's leaving today for the Orange Bowl to see Stanford, followed the national title game to see Oregon.
Ryan and Patrick Finley